Maybe you’ve gotten tired of your old job and are thinking that a new dynamic might just be what you need. Or you’ve been laid off and looking for new employment. Or maybe you’re fresh out of college, still figuring out your path. Either way, if the idea of working for a startup is one that interests you, know this: working for a newbie company is somewhat different. There are a lot more tasks, running around and work to be done, so if you’re not a supporter of a fast-paced day at work, you might want to rethink this. If, however, this sounds like the job for you, here are things that you can do to increase the chances of landing a job at a startup.
1. Ask around
Start from the people you know. Ask your friends, former co-workers or acquaintances. Chances are, someone could have heard about a startup that is hiring. Saying this might be superfluous, but still – remember to be in good terms with everybody. You never know when an opportunity may arise and whether someone you know can help you.
2. Search online
Apart from regular job ads, you can find work even before a job position is officially available. Look at websites like Hired.com or AngelList (the latter monitors which up-and-coming companies received funding, their background and similar things that can help you get hired before they even start hiring). You can never be too proactive about it.
3. Do your homework
Once you have scheduled a job interview, do your research. One of the most repellent things is interviewing a potential employee who doesn’t know anything about the company. It makes you seem uninterested, irresponsible and downright rude. It sends this kind of a message: I don’t really care about your brand, but I need a job, this seemed convenient and I thought I would just give it a go.
4. Try the product
It’s similar to doing research on the company. If you want to be able to sell it, you need to have tried it out first. Making a good first impression is crucial, and looking like you know and love the product is a great bonus. If you don’t, you can always mention knowing someone who uses it.
5. Know the market
In order for a company to want to hire you, you have present yourself as invaluable. Your attitude should say: I am exactly what you have been looking for, you’ll never find anyone who can bring to the table what I can.
Knowing the market, who your company’s main competitors are, what is current and things like that will definitely help you achieve the goal of being a part of the team.
Since you will be working with a group of other people, try and find out what their dynamic is, how the team works. If they come to work dressed casually, don’t come in for the interview in a suit. You will also be judged on whether you can fit in, so look the part. I don’t mean that you have to pretend to be something you’re not, but your appearance also speaks volumes about who you are.
7. Know your co-workers
While we’re on the subject of teamwork, let’s not forget to mention to find out about your co-workers’ interests. Most companies have an online presence, so use that to your advantage. You already did your research on the startup, but a little getting-to-know your team won’t hurt, either. I’m not talking stalking on Facebook, but just see what they’re about. Not every person is a good fit for every company and vice versa. Perhaps you’ll find out that it’s not a good match for you after all, which is also perfectly acceptable.
8. Reach out
Connect with one of the company’s employees and ask them about it. Questions like what’s it like, working there? will give you a better idea of the place. Who knows, maybe the person can put in a good word for you later on. Plus, you can never do too much research.
9. Express your opinion
When it comes to the actual interview, they will probably ask you something on the lines of: Why do you want to work here? Give an honest answer. After researching the company so thoroughly, coming up with a good reason or two shouldn’t be a problem. Startups make their selection of the employees a little differently from others. Don’t be afraid to speak your mind, express your creativity or offer a fresh point of view.
10. Be unique
What makes you different from everyone else? When asked this question, take it as your moment to shine. Generic answers won’t make much of an impact, and something too unusual might make too much of an impact, in a negative way. That’s the time to show a more personal side of you, who you are outside of the office. Talk about your hobbies, interests, experiences. if you don’t know what makes you special, neither will they.
Tip: If you are looking for a Programming job, make sure you are active in places like Stack Overflow, Github and so on. You can create your all-text resume in Github too. This would definitely classify you as a geek!
Last but not least, don’t forget to be respectful. Conducting yourself in a casual but polite manner is the way to go. After all, once you get the job, you are supposed to do the same thing – pitch in your ideas, be innovative, but always know who the boss is.
So, now that you know all about presenting yourself to land your dream job, go out into the world and start digging for the perfect startup you can be part of. Good luck!